U.S. Air Force grounds all B-1B bombers due to safety concerns

Posted at 7:19 AM, Mar 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-29 09:19:24-04
B1B Lancer
In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, a U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing, deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, flies during a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, on July 30, 2017. (Airman 1st Class Christopher Quail/U.S. Air Force, via AP)

SHREVEPORT, La. – The Air Force Global Strike Command has grounded the entire fleet of B-1B Lancer bombers due to  “potentially fleet-wide issues.”

The Air Force said the issue stems from a problem with the drogue chute, which is a parachute that is deployed during pilot ejections from the bomber.

This is the second grounding of the bomber in recent months. The Air Force issued a similar order last June, when problems were discovered with the ejection seat system following an emergency landing of one of the bombers in Midland, Texas. However, the Air Force said the newest concerns are separate from the previous issue.

In a statement from the Air Force Global Strike Command, the bombers will be cleared for flight following new inspections of the ejection seats. Once inspections are complete, bombers will be cleared to fly again.